In Greek mythology, Poseidon is considered as one of the major deities. He was the god of the sea (water bodies in general), earthquakes, and horses. He is different from Pontus, the oldest Greek divinity of waters. The meaning of Poseidon is “lord of the earth”. He was the son of Cronus and Rhea, Cronus’s sister and consort. Cronus was the youngest of the twelve Titans and Rhea was the goddess of fertility. Poseidon’s weapon was the trident. The readers get to read a lot about Poseidon in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. This is the banal introduction of Poseidon, now let’s read about some of the lesser known and fascinating facts about the sea god.
Poseidon – Leading Deities in Ancient Greece
He was one of the significant deities in the historic cities of Greece. In Athens, his significance was second after Athena. While in other cities such as Corinth and other regions of Great Greece, he was the most important god. Even Alexander the Great, took a hiatus at the Syrian seashore before the popular Battle of Issus, to worship Poseidon. He offered him a four-horse chariot by throwing it into the waves.
Origins & Family
Poseidon was the brother of Zeus and Hades in later Greek mythology and the son of Kronos and Rhea. He played a significant role in the conflicts between the Titans, Giants, and Olympians. Following their triumph, the three brothers got to choose which realm they would rule over. Poseidon was awarded control of the waters. The god resided in opulent golden homes decorated with coral and sea flowers that were submerged in the ocean.
The Nereid Amphitrite, Poseidon’s wife, had occasionally been a challenge during their courtship and had once run away to the Atlas Mountains. Fortunately for the sea deity, Delphinus the dolphin convinced Amphitrite to come back and wed Poseidon.
Amphitrite and Poseidon’s son, Triton (half-fish and half-man), was his most well-known offspring. Rhode and Benthesicyme were the two other kids. However, Poseidon had a lot of other children with other women, just like the other gods. Theseus (with Aithra), Polyphemus the Cyclops (whom Odysseus famously met on his protracted journey home from the Trojan War), Orion the Hunter (with Minos’ daughter), Pegasus (after being raped by Medusa), the wild horse Arion, and Charybdis (with Gaia), the ship-eating sea monster that caused terrible whirlpools, are among the most notable.
Cronus, the father of Poseidon, overthrew his father Uranus, and governed the world with his wife Rhea. He was told that history will repeat itself and one of his children will overthrow him. Because of this reason, he swallowed his children at birth. Rhea was able to protect her sixth child Zeus. When Zeus came of age he made Cronus disgorge his siblings: his brothers Hades and Poseidon; and his sisters Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. Poseidon along with his siblings fought against Cronus and other Titans in the battle of Titanomachy. After winning the brothers shared the world, Zeus received heaven and became the ruler, Hades became the god of the underworld, and Poseidon became the lord of the seas.
God of Horses
The ancient Greeks associated horses with Poseidon as he was believed to have created the first known horse and given it to humans as a gift. He is also believed to have introduced humans to the skills of chariot racing and riding. Some myths addressed him as the tamer of horses and some portrayed him as their father. According to the latter one, Poseidon mated with a being that gave birth to the first horse. He fathered several horses and the notable one among them is Pegasus. Pegasus was born because of Poseidon’s sexual escapade with Medusa. Because of these reasons he was known by the epithet Poseidon Hippios.
Poseidon’s major or symbol trident was crafted for him like his siblings Zeus and Hades by the three Elder Cyclopes. In mythology, he strikes the ground with his weapon to create a well of seawater; he also uses it to split rocks to produce springs and more. During the Gigantomachy, the war between the gods and the giants, he uses it to slay the Polybotes. In modern times, Poseidon’s trident survives on the Seal of the Greek Navy, the flag of Barbados, and the Special Warfare insignia of the U.S. Navy SEALs. It is also the badge of the American destroyer USS John S. McCain and the coat of arms of Liverpool City Council.
Poseidon and Women
Poseidon would frequently find his love rejected and would then asset his dominance on women with craftiness and violence. Sources can count up to 30 relationships that Poseidon had with mortals, goddesses, and nymphs. His major relationships were with his wife Amphitrite, Tyro, Alope, Gaia, Amymone, Medusa, and Caeneus. He had a fascinating history with each of them. Other than women, Poseidon also had male lovers – Pelops, Nerites, and Patroclus.
Poseidon as a Father
As a consequence of Poseidon’s numerous escapades with women, he became the father of many children. Several women were mortal and most of them remain unknown. The most well-known children include his son with sea-messenger Amphitrite, Triton; his son with a human named Cleito named Atlas; his son with nymph Thoosa, Polyphemus; Aiolos, son with Arne; Orion, his son with Euryale; Lelex, his son with Libya; Pegasus, his offspring with Medusa; and Arion, an immortal horse, his offspring with Demeter.
Literature, Art, and Movies
Other than Iliad and Odyssey, Poseidon features in several other works including Ovid’s magnum opus Metamorphoses, Olympian Odes by Pindar, and Euripides’s Orestes. Art statues of Poseidon can be seen in many places including Bristol, Presov, Copenhagen, and Gothenburg. In modern cultures, Poseidon is portrayed as the father of the popular fantasy novel protagonist created by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson. He was also featured in the 1989 Disney feature film The Little Mermaid, as the father of Ursula, a malicious sea witch.